Elk Creek Trail April 2022

It has been about 4 months since I last hiked here and the forest has changed a lot in that time.

A rather nice weekend around Portland and I wanted to go to the mountains. I was after my great white whale and hoping the bridge across Elk Creek would be open so I could hike to my favorite overlook spot. I took the chance and got a late start for Tillamook State Forest and Elk Mountain to check on that footbridge.

For such a nice day the parking lot wasn’t busy. I had no intention hiking to the top of the mountain and it worked to my advantage. I could get a late start and not have to worry about darkness falling. Lots of people already climbed the mountain and came down. This meant there were several open parking spots near the trail head.

The weather was cool and damp at the base of the mountain. I had my layers on and grabbed my day pack to start the short hike to the footbridge. Only a few hikers all coming down the backside of the mountain but no one headed in my direction. After a few minutes I arrived at where the bridge should be but unfortunately it was not yet constructed. There had been rain early in the week so the creek was running high. I don’t know exactly when the footbridge will be built but I suspect when rain isn’t generally expected.

I just kept hiking up the backside of the mountain instead. I didn’t know how far I would make it but I knew it wouldn’t be the top. I have had my heart set on my favorite spot for so long that I don’t want to hike something else till I get there first. It’s crazy I know but trust me on this.

The fallen tree I sat on while eating lunch and getting some writing done.

I hiked up the trail which is an old logging trail. It was really interesting seeing the park after only four months of being in the same area. The forest has changed and a lot in my unofficial opinion. I noticed lots more downed trees from all the severe weather we have had the last few months. Especially from all the crazy amounts of snow at low elevations. This is the PNW where it rains a lot sure, not snow.

I got only a few miles up the trail before I decided to break for lunch. I really wanted to just sit and enjoy lunch while being surrounded by trees and nature. I found a huge tree that had fallen next to the trail and sat there for lunch. It was a good spot along the trail and the tree was surprising comfortable.

The tree caused a blind corner for those coming down it. Most people didn’t notice I was sitting there and I scared one person really good. It was two hikers. The woman who was leading noticed me and said hello. The guy following 10′ behind her didn’t see me, jumped and audibly screamed when he noticed me. He said “I wonder who you said hello to.” She looked at him and said to me “I bet that just made your day.” Being in nature made my day but scarring the crap out of that guy I will admit was fun.

I had my lunch and got some writing done before I started my journey back down the mountain. It was already late in the afternoon and I still had to drive home. The sun was still up but it was starting to cast long shadows. Summer is coming which means long days full of sun.

As we move through summer I will come back to check if the bridge is up and hike to my favorite spot. Not sure when but I can only hope the footbridge is built sooner rather than later. Maybe closer to actual summer when the rain stops and wont wash away the footbridge. Till that adventure happens today’s hike was great. An almost perfect weather afternoon just begs you to be out in the mountains communing with nature.